Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2: Which is best?

Apple eventually debuted the iPhone 15 Pro series and the A17 Pro, the company’s quickest mobile CPU to date. To better fit the Pro series, it has dropped the “Bionic” label. The A17 Pro includes a robust Neural engine, effective CPU, and improved GPU, among other features. But how does it compare to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor from Qualcomm? We thoroughly compare the Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to find out. Let’s move on and discover their differences and commonalities now.

A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2: Specifications

Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Check out the specifications of the Apple A17 Pro and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. You will have a thorough understanding of both mobile processors from it.

SpecsApple A17 ProSnapdragon 8 Gen 2
CPUSix-core CPU, 19 billion transistorsOcta-core, Kryo CPU
CPU Cores2x High-performance cores
4x High-efficiency cores
1x 3.2GHz (Cortex-X3)
2x 2.8GHz (Cortex-A715)
2x 2.8GHz (Cortex-A710)
3x 2.0GHz (Cortex-A510)
Process TechnologyTSMC’s 3nm processTSMC’s 4nm process
GPUApple Pro-class 6-core GPU
Hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing
Adreno 740 GPU; Hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing
Memory SupportLPDDR5LPDDR5X
Machine Learning and AI16-core Neural Engine; 35 TOPSNew AI Engine, Hexagon Processor
ISPApple-designed Image Signal ProcessorTriple 18-Bit Spectra ISP; Cognitive ISP, Snapdragon Sight
Camera CapabilityProRAW photos at 48MP
Photonic Engine
Capture photos up to 200MP, 36MP triple shots with ZSL
Video Capability4K60 ProRes videos
Spatial video recording
4K HDR Dolby Vision @ 60FPS
Cinematic 4K@24FPS
Action mode
8K HDR, Bokeh Engine 2
ModemSnapdragon X70 5G modem
Up to 10 Gbps Peak Download
Up to 3.5 Gbps Peak Upload
Snapdragon X70 5G modem
Up to 10 Gbps Peak Download
Up to 3.5 Gbps Peak Upload
WiFi SupportWi-Fi 6EWi-Fi 7
BluetoothBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.3, LE Audio, Dual Bluetooth Antenna, aptX Lossless
OthersAV1 Decoder
ProRes codec
Pro display engine
NavIC Support
AV1 Codec Support
NavIC Support

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs. A17 Pro: CPU

Let’s start with the CPU in this comparison between the Apple A17 Pro and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Apple has chosen to stick with its customary six-core architecture. The A17 Pro is notable for being the first chip made in large quantities using TSMC’s 3nm node, most likely using the company’s first-generation N3B process. As a result, a single die now contains 19 billion transistors.

Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Two high-performance cores on the CPU are allegedly clocked at 3.70 GHz. In comparison to the prior Everest cores, it offers a 10% performance boost. In addition, Apple included four power-saving CPU cores, which the company claims to be the most effective mobile CPU core. It most likely refers to the A510 core and states that it offers 3x performance per watt compared to the competitors. Therefore, Apple has done a good job with the A17 Pro in terms of CPU performance and efficiency, due to TSMC’s most recent 3nm production node.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 was released a year ago; it is constructed using TSMC’s 4nm node (N4 process) and includes an octa-core CPU architecture. With a 1+(2+2)+3 CPU cluster design, it has a single potent Cortex-X3 core clocked at 3.2GHz, along with 2 Cortex-A715 cores, 2 Cortex-A710 cores, and 3 Cortex-A510 cores, all of which are clocked at 2.8GHz.

Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

As you can see, the maximum clock speed of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s prime core is 3.2GHz, which is much lower than the 3.70GHz frequency of the A17 Pro. It’s clear that the A17 Pro will have a big advantage in single-threaded workloads. Even with the leaked information about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip’s CPU, Qualcomm doesn’t seem to be in a position to outperform Apple this year. According to rumours, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 has a (1+3+2+2) CPU architecture and has a prime Cortex-X4 core with a 3.39GHz clock speed, which is still less than 3.70GHz.

Here are the Geekbench 6 rankings for each of the three processors to help you understand. The OEMs are currently fine-tuning the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip to get the greatest performance out of the chipset, so take the leaked scores with a grain of salt.

Single-core (Geekbench 6)
Multi-core (Geekbench 6)
Apple A17 Pro (Leaked)32697666
Snapdragon 8 Gen 218674949
Snapdragon 8 Gen 322336661

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs. A17 Pro: GPU

Moving on to GPU, this year is really exciting. We are aware of how Qualcomm’s Adreno 740 outperformed Apple’s 5-core GPU last year in terms of efficiency and performance. In order to reclaim the GPU throne from Qualcomm this year, Apple has made no compromises. With shader architecture, Apple has created a new Pro-class GPU with unmatched performance and efficiency. Instead of 5, the A17 Pro’s new GPU has six cores. Performance is 20% faster than it was with the prior version as a result.

Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Keep in mind that the performance gap between the A15 Bionic and A16 Bionic last year was only 5%. The 20% YoY improvement does feel big with Apple A17 Pro. In addition, Apple has now made hardware-accelerated Ray tracing capability available on the A17 Pro’s Pro-class GPU.

According to Apple, the new GPU’s ray tracing is 4 times faster than the A16 Bionic’s software-based graphics rendering. A new function dubbed MetalFX Upscaling also makes use of the GPU and Neural Engine to produce high-quality graphics while consuming less energy.

Finally, the iPhone 15 Pro series will allow you to play console-caliber games like Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 4, Death Stranding, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and others. The powerful Pro-class GPU on the A17 Pro definitely makes a case for itself in the gaming world. The new 6-core GPU appears to be a winner, even though the older Adreno 740 GPU in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has performed admirably and offers capabilities like HW-accelerated ray tracing.

Naturally, we’ll compare it to the impending Adreno 750 GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for the time being, but Apple has once again managed to grab the upper hand.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs. A17 Pro: ISP

At the launch, Apple made few mentions of the A17 Pro’s ISP (Image Signal Processor), but the Photonic engine now drives the majority of the camera features, including Night mode and portraits. Additionally, Apple has announced that early in 2019, the iPhone 15 Pro series will support spatial video recording. This will enable you to vividly revisit the memories with Apple Vision Pro. Additionally, because of its strong ISP, you can already capture 48MP ProRAW photos and 4K60 ProRes films.

It is compatible with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and offers an 18-bit triple ISP architecture, 8K HDR video compatibility, 200MP photo capability, and many more capabilities. So, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 appears superior in terms of raw picture processing power. But in actual use, we’ve found that films taken with iPhones are significantly better than those on top-tier Android phones. As a result, we cannot evaluate the ISP of each of these processors based solely on their specifications.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs. A17 Pro: AI and ML

In terms of AI and ML, the A17 Pro has significantly improved. The performance of the A17 Pro’s new 16-core Neural Engine is now two times greater than that of the A16 Bionic. It can now efficiently complete 35 trillion operations per second (TOPS). That is really insane, right? To give you a general perspective, the A16 Bionic scored only 17 TOPS the previous year, and in just one year, Apple was able to double the performance.

Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Apple A17 Pro vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

However, Qualcomm has always done a fantastic job with its AI engine. 27 TOPS were already being achieved by the much older Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, and the AI engine was made even more effective with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. We must now wait and watch whether Qualcomm’s next Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 succeeds in overtaking Apple in the AI race.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs. A17 Pro: 5G Modem & Wireless

Although Apple didn’t spend much time on 5G connectivity, the Apple A17 Pro does have a separate Qualcomm 5G modem. Probably the Snapdragon X70 5G modem, which is also a part of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. Apple and Qualcomm have extended their 5G chip supply deal to include modems until the year 2026.

In terms of 5G connection, the A17 Pro has a very strong modem that supports both mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands and can give rates of up to 10Gbps. Other than that, the A17 Pro supports Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6E.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has all the most recent radio advances and includes the X70 5G modem. On the subject of local connectivity, it has Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, and Bluetooth LE. Be aware that Apple added NavIC support with the A17 Pro this year, making both flagship CPUs compatible with India’s navigation satellite system.

Apple A17 Pro Surpasses Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in Speed

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is about a year old, making it unreasonable to compare it to the Apple A17 Pro in many aspects. It does, however, provide a glimpse into how far Apple has advanced compared to the competition over the past 12 months. Additionally, it provides guidance on what the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 needs to achieve in order to once more bridge the gap. The comparison makes it obvious that Apple has once again surpassed competitors in the CPU, GPU, and AI fields. All eyes are now on Qualcomm to see if it can overtake Apple. Time will only tell.

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Meet Amrit Malviya, a tech blogger who is passionate about all things technology. With a keen eye for the latest gadgets and a knack for breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand terms.

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